Glorious sunshine greeted us on the fourth day of our tour, which our guide, Peter Straus, dubbed as our Hispanic day. Our excursion opened in El Santuario de Chimayo (The Shrine), where the “miraculous” crucifix of Our Lord of Esquipulas was found in 1816. For the last two centuries, thousands of people have flocked to the site on an annual basis seeking miracles and healing.
We then traveled to Chimayo to visit Centinela Traditional Arts, owned by nationally renowned weavers Irvin and Lisa Trujillo. Irvin comes from a long line of weavers, dating back to the 1600s. He is the seventh generation of weavers to live in Chimayo. Irvin’s father taught him every aspect of weaving: developing a design; washing, carding and spinning; dyeing the wool with natural dyes and making looms. In 2007, he was a National Endowment of the Arts National Heritage Fellow. Lisa began weaving when she met Irvin, whom she married after graduating from the University of New Mexico. Many of their pieces hang in museums all over the world, including the Smithsonian. Tour participant and fibre artist Laura Lawrence, owner of Dancing Threads, was thrilled to talk with the Trujillos about dyeing, which she hopes to incorporate into her own creations (which you can view on her website www.lauralawrenceart.com).
Our third stop this morning was the home of another nationally recognized artist, woodcarver Sabinita Lopez Ortiz , who lives in the small town of Cordova (population 600). She, too, learned her craft from family members. In her case, it was her parternal uncle who taught her the art of woodworking. She has passed on the family tradition to her own children and grandchildren. While regaling us with family tales, she whittled away on a piece of aspen wood, which turned into a mouse before our very eyes.
We were all famished after the morning’s activities, quenched by a splendid champagne brunch at Bishop’s Lodge. It is named for Bishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy, the first bishop in the Roman Catholic diocese of the American Southwest, created in the middle of the 19th century. Today, the lodge is a 450 acre retreat, and central to the space is the Bishop’s Lodge, a humble dwelling of three rooms: a bedroom, a receiving room and a small chapel, which we visited after stuffing ourselved with an array of delicious offerings.
After a couple of hours of rest, we gathered together to walk over to the Lensic Center for the Performing Arts for a recital courtesy of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. The center is housed in a former movie theatre palace, built in 1931 and renovated seventy years later. In its 38th season, the festival presents world class music – and musicians – in a relaxed atmosphere. The recital opened with the charming flute sonata by Serge Prokofiev, expertly executed by flutist Tara Helen O’Connor and pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin. There were moments when it was difficult to distinguish who was playing what, as the flute sounded like the piano and vice versa. The first half of the concert concluded with the world premiere of George Tsontakis’ Stimulus Package, co-commissioned by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and La Jolla Music Society’s Summerfest (where the work will be performed again this Friday night). It was played by the ensemble Real Quiet, consisting of pianist Andrew Russo, cellist Felix Fan and percussionist David Cossin, who played an array of instruments. Like the Prokofiev, instruments often seamlessly blended into one another. Tsontakis’ Greek heritage pervaded the piece, which was warmly received by the audience. Following the intermission, six excellent musicians regaled us with Dvorak’s string sextet. The ensemble consisted of violinists William Preucil and Benny Kim, violists Steven Tenenborn and Ida Kavafian and cellists Eric Kim and Timothy Eddy. The musicians joyfully played off one another, smiling throughout Dvorak’s charming work.
It’s hard to believe that we have only one more day of activities, which we can’t to share with you!